Baseball Fan Falls to Death at Atlanta Braves Game – Voice of America
A fan died after falling from the upper deck into the lower-level stands at Turner Field on Saturday night during a game between the Atlanta Braves and New York Yankees.
Lt. Charles Hampton of the Atlanta Police Department homicide unit confirmed the death hours after the man fell in the seventh inning. He was pronounced dead at Grady Memorial Hospital.
Mary Beth Hauptle, an investigator with the Fulton County Medical Examiner, identified the victim as Gregory K. Murrey, 60, of Alpharetta, Georgia.
The fall immediately followed the introduction of Yankees slugger Alex Rodriguez as a pinch hitter. The game wasn’t delayed while medical personnel treated the man for about 10 minutes, applying CPR before putting him on a backboard.
Fell near players’ families
Hampton said police don’t suspect foul play at this point. He said no fans were hurt in the 200-level seats where the man fell from section 401, landing close to an area where players’ wives and families sit.
There was blood on the concrete surface around the seats.
This was the third fan death from a fall at Turner Field in eight seasons. In 2013, a fan’s death was ruled a suicide; in 2008, police cited alcohol as a factor after a man died.
Yankees shortstop Didi Gregorius was standing on second base, following his double, when he saw the man fall.
“I was thinking about it the whole time,” Gregorius said after the Yankees won 3-1. “All I can say is my condolences to the family. It was right in front of the camera in the press box. He hit the wires.”
Major League Baseball said it had been in contact with the Braves and was monitoring the situation.
A sellout crowd of 49,243 was the largest of the season at Turner Field. The Braves are set to move into a new suburban stadium in 2017.
“The Atlanta Braves offer their deepest condolences to the family,” the team said in a statement.
MLB has said this season that it is studying the issue of fan safety in the wake of several people being hurt by foul balls and flying bats. Some players have called for more protective netting around the field.
Other falling deaths
A fan died at Turner Field on Aug. 12, 2013, after falling 85 feet from a walkway on the fourth level of the stadium. Investigators from the Fulton County Medical Examiner’s office later ruled that the death of Ronald Lee Homer Jr., 30, was a suicide.
Police said Homer, of Conyers, Georgia, landed in the players’ parking lot after a rain delay during a game between the Braves and Philadelphia.
In 2008, Justin Hayes, 25, died after falling down a stairwell in Atlanta during a game against the Mets. Police said alcohol contributed to his fall that caused head injuries.
Two fans died at major league games in 2011.
In Texas, a man fell about 20 feet to the ground beyond the outfield fence trying to catch a baseball tossed his way by Rangers outfielder Josh Hamilton. Shannon Stone, 39 and a firefighter in Brownwood, Texas, was attending the Rangers game with his young son.
Earlier that year, a 27-year-old man died after falling about 20 feet and striking his head on concrete during a Colorado Rockies home game. Witnesses told police the man was trying to slide down a staircase railing at Coors Field and lost his balance.
At Turner Field, a woman went to the Braves dugout and told catcher A.J. Pierzynski about what had occurred.
Some family members were escorted to a room near the Braves clubhouse. Many, including Atlanta outfielder Cameron Maybin’s son, were crying.
“None of our family guys got hurt other than there were some young children there that got to see stuff that’s not real nice,” Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said.
A security guard at the holding room for family members said witnesses saw the man trying to hang onto a wire that runs from the protective net behind the plate to under the press box. The man then fell the rest of the way into the seats.